The life insurance market in the first half of the year saw revenue gains of about 25 percent over the same period last year, according to preliminary statistics from the Vietnam Insurance Association.

Among the biggest gainers was Dai-ichi Life Vietnam , which reported earnings of more than 120 billion VND (6.3 million USD) from new premium policies in the first six months of the year, up 48 percent against the same period in 2009.

Other insurance companies also reported strong growth in the first half of the year. ACE Life said new premium policies were up 40 percent, while Korea Life Vietnam said it saw premiums rise nearly 80 percent in the second quarter.

AIA Vietnam also saw solid growth in premiums, as did Prudential Vietnam, which said its market share by premiums rose 27 percent in the first six months. It now has a market share (by premium revenue) of 40 percent.

Jack Howell, Prudential Vietnam's CEO, said strong growth in the local insurance market was an indication of Vietnam 's development potential.

Meanwhile, Phung Dac Loc, general secretary of the Vietnam Insurance Association, said there was still room for growth in the local insurance market.

At the moment, just 5 percent of the Vietnamese population has life insurance. It is estimated that 30 percent of the country's population can afford to take out insurance policies.

There are currently 11 life insurance companies in the country. Only Bao Viet is home-grown.

Nguyen Quang Tung, general director of the Vietnam Investment and Development Bank's insurance company, said his firm plans to expand its life insurance business by forming joint ventures with foreign partners./.